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Dinners in Coral Gables ~$40

Happy New Year! I will be staying in Coral Gables for business for the next several weeks Monday thru Thursday. I'm on a per diem and will have about $40 for dinner each night. I am traveling with 2 non-foodie men (think steak and pots) and we eat together about once or twice per week. the other night I blessedly eat on my own and am free to explore the cuisine and town. I'm staying at the Hyatt on Alhambra and looking for walking distance restys that have great food and good atmosphere for about $30-$40 per person. We've been to Tarpon Bend (I say "ew", the guys liked it) and Havana Harry's (pretty good). I walked out of Houston's b/c the hostess was exceptionally rude and seemed annpoyed that I requested a table for one. There seem to be a ton of choices in the Gables and I want to savor every expensed meal that I can! Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.


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  1. Go yourself:
    Miss Saigon

    Grazianos- go with the guys...

    1. Tried Yuga the other day and liked it. Small plates Japanese where around two to three plates would make a good light dinner. Not very filling so go when you've had a big lunch. In fact, I think it deserves its own post.

      1. Norman's
        Pascal's on Ponce

        are a few others and I am sure TP's above are good too especially Francesco's Peruvian emporium if you're down with said style from South America?

        Should you get to Coconut Grove try Jaguar.

        1 Reply
        1. re: netmover

          Umm you forgot the $30-40 Per Person thingy :)

        2. This is great, thank you all for your replies!

          1. You're actually pretty close to Versailles, which is where I'd direct anyone out of town for a true "Miami" experience. It's on Calle 8 around 35-36th Avenues if I remember correctly. Large and varied menu, make sure you speak English to the hostess. Where lots of locals go, open late, take-out window for coffee and pastries.

            A short cab ride from your hotel is Mykonos, east on Coral Way where it intersects with 3rd Avenue. Great Greek food, but family style -- I wouldn't go alone, but I'm a relative newcomer to Greek food and I found things there I liked, so I hope your friends will too.

            1. Some good suggestions here but you would struggle to eat at Norman's or Pascal's for under $40. Abracci and Ortanique would also be tight. Ortanique is my favorite of the bunch - Nuevo Caribbean, your meat & potato buddies might not be big fans. I'm underwhelmed by Abracci, much more a see-and-be-seen place than great food.

              Su Shin Izakaya (on Aragon) does good sushi and also usually has several interesting specials, often Japanese "tapas" or small plates (same owners as Yuga, which I haven't tried yet). My favorite sushi in the Gables.

              For Greek, I prefer Maria's on Coral Way over Mykonos - neither are walking distance. You'd have to cab it, and I'm not sure I'd say it's worth it. Also in the same direction is a neat little Portugese place called Old Lisbon. It's not great, but it's charming and seems pretty authentic.

              I have not been but have friends who love Graziano's. An Argentine steakhouse might make both you and your fellow travelers happy.

              You can take the free trolley up Ponce de Leon Boulevard to Chispa, a Nuevo Latino place right near the Merrick Place mall. I happen to really like the food, although the place can get loud and sceney. Also probably toward the top of your budget.

              For something different, try Tambo, a Peruvian place (on Giralda towards LeJeune Road). Really interesting cross-cultural combination of South American and Asian styles. Dinner prices may be at the upper end of your budget.

              There's a little Spanish place on Miracle Mile called Copas Y Tapas. They mostly do sandwiches, but their tortilla espanola is very nice and they have this stew with tripe and chickpeas that I just love (I am a big fan of good tripe, but if it's not your thing I'll understand). Also a nice selection of Spanish wines.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Frodnesor

                I was thinking of chispa, but not sure if it is a good solo spot. I remember it being good for groups.

                1. re: Frodnesor

                  Frodnesor is right on. I especially like Su-Shin's blackboard specials. About the delicious Ortanique -- don't forget your earplugs! Also across from Nordstrom/Merrick Park, also served by the trolley is the Argentinian grocery/cafeteria with great industrial design whose name I forget.

                2. You're right T & F, I did slip a couple $$$ places in there...but:

                  $15 app + $25 entree = $40 or skip the app and go for the best entree! No vino or drinks, tip comes out of pocket.

                  Is Le Pronvencal and Baccio still open over there, if so, are they any good?

                  That Thai Orchid used to be good too?

                  Anybody been to St Michelle lately?

                  Also, there's a former boxer who has gotten some good press over there...it's an Italian joint, any word on that place?

                  1. I love food and exploring new places so I don't mind shelling out some of my own $$ (when i dine without the others) to cover what is not in my per diem ($59 per day). I stick to coffee and fruit for breakfast and am forced to have bad deli food for lunch b/c we're working at the med school. So most days I have a fair amount leftover for dinner. We usually stay at the Biltmore and I'll be so happy to be on Alhambra this time around so I can explore the area more on foot and not pay out the nose for a so-so dinner at the Biltmore.

                    I think the new Italian place that the boxer owns is Randazzos?

                    1. Randazzo's is the place owned by the former boxer. Decent spaghetti and meatballs (and sausage, if you like) which I've done for lunch and felt like napping the rest of the day. It's good, I wouldn't say it's anything very special unless you've got a real hankering for meatballs.

                      Netmover, those are some real old school Gables places. Used to go to all of them, but haven't been to any recently. I've always liked Provencale but can't tell you the last time I've gone, Bacci was the same owners as Abracci and I think is now gone. Thai Orchard is reliable if not great Thai, and I used to like St. Michelle but haven't been in ages. They're doing some restoration work on the building right now but the restaurant is still open.

                      Another fairly reasonable place I'd add to the list and forgot initially is Bugatti for Italian. Very good pasta (gnocchi particularly are a favorite), a nice caesar salad, and some of the non-pasta mains are very good too.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Frodnesor

                        Talk about old school...Bugatti just brought back a few streaming memories! Is that place still on Ponce and is it still as good?

                      2. Crach - you must be thinking of Estancia Argentina? I thought that was mostly a market, didn't think they actually served there.

                        Netmover - yes, Bugatti is still there, and still good. They actually updated the decor and the menu a bit about a year ago! (first time in a decade, I'd bet).

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Frodnesor

                          Estancia Argentina serves the entire Argentinian array -- miga sandwiches, facturas, empanadas, and lots of cooked authentic foods like tortas, tortillas, choripan, etc. They actually have a huge menu, good quality, and a cool atmosphere. One complaint is the lack of real plates and cups. But for a cheap, cool once in a while vibe, you can't go wrong.

                        2. Cafe St. Michelle is very nice, and within walking distance.